Youth team defender Tom Stead was pleased to finish Saturday’s 3-0 away win against Wigan Athletic with a goal and clean sheet to his name.
The 17-year-old has started all five of the U18s’ matches thus far this campaign but he and his fellow defenders had been unable to keep a shutout before now, although just one goal had been shipped in each of the first three matches.
However, the Lilywhites looked in control at both ends of the pitch against the Latics, and Stead felt that the clean sheet was indicative of a great defensive showing.
“It’s always good to keep a clean sheet because you know you’ve defended well,” the second-year scholar told PNE.com.
“It’s a good feeling to keep the clean sheet, especially against Wigan. I think they are one of the better teams that we’ve played against this season but we did well to keep it solid at the back.
“They got through once or twice but that can happen, but we didn’t concede and that’s the main thing.”
Having lost 3-1 to Blackpool last time out, the defender – who powered home North End’s first goal in this contest – explained the importance of responding correctly in this game.
“I think because of the loss last week, we knew we had to come back strong in this game and get the win. We made the extra effort to get the clean sheet and the win because of last week’s performance.
“It’s always good to get a goal and it helped us to go on and win the game. We just needed to get that goal to go and push on then, and then we went on to score more which was obviously good as well.”
Stead has started all five matches alongside fellow centre-back Lewis Fensome and said he is enjoying that partnership, with understandings building between the two at both ends of the pitch.
“It’s a good partnership. We like to play next to each other, we’re always talking in the games to help and cover for each other and we know how each other plays.
“When we’re going forward, we just tell each other where we’re going in the box and make sure to go and attack it and get our head on it, whether that’s knocking it down for someone else or getting it yourself.”